FGCU players celebrate beating Georgetown on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. / Kinfay Moroti/news-press.com
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FGCU men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield closely guards the inner sanctum of the Eagles’ locker room, at least when CBS doesn’t have authority over a head coach to go wherever it wants.
The Eagles second-year boss insists he’s not a rah-rah speech man, but something’s happening in there.
While seventh-seeded San Diego State on Sunday snapped FGCU’s 21-game streak without trailing at halftime, it’s the second half lately where the Eagles are really making a living.
Over the last two games of the regular season, three Atlantic Sun Conference games and two more NCAA tournament games, FGCU is leading at halftime by an average score of 30.0-27.3.
In the second half of those games, though, FGCU has blazed away from foes with a 44.1-35.7 average, giving the Eagles an average winning score of 74.1-63.0 since Feb. 28.
More noticeably, FGCU did its damage in the last two games with high-flying theatrics that captivated a 20,000-seat arena in Philadelphia and a growing legion of fans nationwide.
After leading hard-nosed Georgetown 24-22 at halftime last Friday, FGCU used a 21-2 second-half run to open a game-best 19-point lead at 52-33.
While the Hoyas fought back to within four points, FGCU’s outburst was enough for the 78-68 win.
“At halftime I said, ‘Fellas. We’ve got to play our style the second half,’” Enfield said of FGCU’s up-tempo pace. “We’re going to push the ball — made shots and missed shots. We’re built for our style. We’re not built to grind it out every possession.”
Two days later against San Diego State, FGCU trailed at halftime, 35-34, its first mid-point deficit since its A-Sun opener Dec. 31 at Kennesaw State.
As in its recent second-half explosions, though, FGCU used a 17-0 run beginning at the 11:33 mark of the second half to demoralize another formidable foe and again electrify delirious, delighted masses.
No speech this time, either, coach?
“I don’t like to slow the ball down. I like to let our guys play,” Enfield said. “I think it’s extremely difficult to guard an offense when players have freedom and they can play within a system.”
— Follow Soffian: @NewsPressSeth